Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
Gov. Scott Walker has made it pretty clear what his priorities are: creating jobs and improving worker skills so that they match job openings. Eliminating same-day voter registration is not a priority.
Walker on Wednesday told Bill Lueders of the Wisconsin Center for Investigation that he will veto any bill that calls for ending same-day registration "if it has a price tag."
That should settle the issue for now.
Distractions abound for public officials, especially for such highly placed ones as governors and presidents. Thanks to technology and the ubiquity of recording devices, no comment goes unchallenged, or unheard.
Walker first raised the issued during a California speech in which he laid out his priorities for the upcoming session of the Legislature. In that speech he talked about tax cuts and changes to the voucher school program and higher education. He also mentioned eliminating same-day voter registration.
The reaction to that was swift once word of his comments were made public in Wisconsin. Critics included election officials who said same-day registration is not as heavy a burden as the governor had portrayed.
Then the Government Accountability Board said it would cost $5.2 million to eliminate the law, which has been on the books for 36 years, and implement a system that complies with federal laws.
That price tag was too heavy for Walker, who then backed off the idea and said he wouldn't sign such a bill. However, as Rep. John Richards, D-Milwaukee, pointed out, not signing a bill does not guarantee it would become law. That can happen without Walker's signature.
The issue persisted until Wednesday, when Walker told Lueders: "There's no way we're spending money on something like that."
We approve of the governor's attempt to put this issue to rest and to avoid distractions when there are bigger issues out there. Walker told the Wisconsin State Journal on Wednesday that he doesn't want to see bills on right-to-work, same-day voter registration, immigration reform or Government Accountability Board reform.
In these days of a slow-to-recover economy, an approaching "fiscal cliff" and the issues surrounding the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., it's wise to focus on creating jobs, improving the state economy and fixing the agency that was going to help with those.
We'll get a much better picture of the direction the governor's taking the state when he unveils his biennial budget in the new year.